11 Days: Dive Great Barrier Reef & Cairns [ST-DiveSOFa]
Dive Vacation
Starting at
$5,855
Per Person
View Details
Highlights & Inclusions
  • Must depart the US on a Monday
  • Accommodation - Cairns (1 Night), Live-Aboard Dive Expedition (7), Cairns (1)
  • International Flights - Los Angeles to Brisbane (Return)
  • US Domestic Flights are not included. Please inquire for flight pricing to be included.
  • Australian Domestic Flights - Brisbane to Cairns (Return)
  • Shuttle Transfers - Cairns Airport to Accommodation (Return)
  • Overnight Tours Included - Cairns: 7 Night Liveaboard Dive Expedition Great Barrier Reef
  • Live-Aboard Diving Expedition includes: Transfers to/ from Cairns city accommodation, Opportunity for 26 (including two night dives), En-suite cabin with daily service, Chef prepared meals, Australian wines & soft drinks with evening meal.
  • All Day Tours listed are Optional (Not Included)
  • Visa Issuance for entry into Australia (Not Included, Client to apply for ETA via Australian ETA Smartphone App)
  • F.I.T. (Free & Independent Travel, i.e. this is not an Organized Group Tour)
  • All Taxes and Fuel Levies (Except where noted)
  • Itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to suit your needs.
Itinerary Details
Day 1 (Monday) - International Flight, Los Angeles to Brisbane

Shortly after departing Los Angeles you will be served dinner and you will be given breakfast before landing in Brisbane.

Relax, watch some movies, and try to get some sleep!

Please confirm with the airline at check-in that they have all your Frequent Flyer information on record (if applicable).

Day 2 - Australian Domestic Flight, Brisbane to Cairns

Travel within Australia by domestic air from Brisbane to Cairns.

Day 2 - Shuttle Transfer, Cairns Accommodation to Airport

Travel by shuttle from your Cairns vacation accommodation to the Airport in Cairns, Australia.

Need to Know
Luggage Restrictions: 1 checked bag and 1 hand luggage is free of charge per person in the shuttle. Additional luggage is 10$ each. Strollers are free. Bikes need to be in a bike bag. Fishing rods need to be broken down and in a container.

Days 2 to 3 - 1 Night Accommodation in Cairns

Travel to your accommodation Cairns, Australia, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 1 night.

Your 4.5 star accommodation combines contemporary decor with a tropical ambience. The magnificent location of this 176 room hotel is perfect for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest or Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands. Other nearby highlights include: Cairns Casino, Marlin Jetty, the Esplanade and the Night Markets. Unwind with a cocktail by the pool or bar followed by a sumptuous meal at the award winning Bushfire Flame Grill.

All rooms and suites have individual balconies, individually controlled air conditioning, refrigerator, television, broadband internet access, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, along with tea and coffee making facilities. Facilities include: 24 hr reception, tour desk, free wireless internet, Bushfire Flame Grill, bar, pool, business services on request, coin operated laundry on four floors, room service, laundry & dry cleaning.

Days 3 to 10 (Thursday - Thursday) - 7 Nights on a Live Aboard Diving Expedition

For diving enthusiasts this liveaboard dive trip represents the ultimate dive vacation. Dives include Osprey Reef, on the Coral Sea with other sites such as Cod Hole, Dynamite Pass, North Horn, Bougainville Reef, Steve’s Bommie, Temple of Doom and Flare Point. With Gourmet Meals and the Outstanding Level of Service you will feel like you are aboard your own private yacht.

Special Expeditions: In June/July this trip offers the chance to swim with Minke Whales as they congregate in the Ribbon Reefs.

Day 1: Depart Cairns & Dive

The Spirit of Freedom courtesy bus will pick you up from your Cairns hotel around 11:00 am to transfer you to Trinity Wharf. There you will be greeted by the Spirit of Freedom crew, who will give you an orientation of the vessel before you depart on your 7-night liveaboard dive trip at 12:00 noon.

Enjoy lunch on board while you cruise to the Outer Great Barrier Reef for an afternoon check-out dive and a twilight or night dive.

After dinner, cruise north to the Ribbon Reefs.

Days 2 & 3: Diving Ribbon Reefs

These two days are spent diving at the most northern of the Ribbon Reefs, Number 9 & 10 Ribbon Reefs.

Dive sites and sequence may vary depending on the weather conditions, but will always include at least one dive at the Cod Hole, where you encounter a family of massive and very friendly Potato Cod. Other sites may include Wonder-wall, Pixie Pinnacle, Challenger Bay, Two Towers, Lighthouse Bommie, and the Snake Pit, just to name a few.

If the current is right, you may also take a drift dive at Dynamite Pass, well known as a channel for sharks to pass through. 4 to 5 dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Friday. On Saturday evening overnight at Watson’s Bay, Lizard Island, and enjoy a sunset BBQ dinner on the top deck.

Day 4: Mountain Walk & More Diving

This morning after breakfast you will have the opportunity to go ashore at Lizard Island. This is a good chance to stretch your legs on land at the halfway point of your trip! We recommend taking the guided walk from Watson’s Beach to Mary Watson’s cottage, over Chinaman’s Ridge, and back to the beach.

Around 11.00 am you will cruise back to Ribbon Reef Number 10 for two dives at a choice of sites including the Snake Pit, Cod Hole, Challenger Bay, Lighthouse Bommie, and Pixie Wall, and Pixie Pinnacle.

If the tide permits you may repeat a dive at the Cod Hole or visit new sites. Depart in the evening for a 10-hour crossing to Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea.

Days 5 & 6: Dive Osprey Reef

Two days will be spent diving Osprey Reef (weather permitting). Australia’s Coral Sea reefs are renowned for their crystal clear water, with visibility ranging from 30 to 100 metres. The landscape is amazing, with sheer walls laced with gorgonian fans, sea whips, and bright yellow soft corals, rising from the ocean floor thousands of feet below.

‘North Horn’ is a dive site at the tip of Osprey where grey reef sharks, silvertips, and the occasional oceanic congregate, and you can experience a close encounter with the Spirit of Freedom shark attraction dive. Four to five dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Monday.

On Tuesday night depart Osprey Reef for overnight travel to the Ribbon Reefs.

Day 7: Dive Bougainville Reef or in the Ribbon Reefs

After overnight travel back to the Great Barrier Reef arrive at Ribbon Reefs Number 3 where you will dive such sites as the sensational Steve’s Bommie, Temple of Doom, and Flare Point. A second option for this day, in special weather conditions, is to head south from Opsrey to Bougainville Reef, known for its unusual underwater landscape and caverns, and its partially submerged wreck. This evening you will cruise overnight back to Cairns.

Day 8: Arrive in Cairns

Arrive Cairns approximately 06:30am. Breakfast will be served on board and hotel transfer will be arranged for approx 8:00am.

Operates
Departs Cairns every Thursday at 12:00pm & returns to Cairns every Thursday at 8:00am

Includes

  • Chef-prepared drinks meals & snacks, wine and soft drinks are included with the evening meal.
  • Tanks, air fills, Nautilus Lifeline and weight belt. Full equiptment rental available for fee.
  • Daily cabin service.
  • Cairns hotel or Airport transfers.
  • GST and all reef levies and fees.

Need to Know
Please note that above itinerary is a sample only and sites may vary, or the sequence may change. Access to the Cod Hole and the Coral Sea is weather conditional and while every attempt will be made to keep to the advertised itinerary, the Coral Sea and specific sites on the Great Barrier Reef are not guaranteed.

Diver experience recommendation: Advanced Diver certification with minimum 20 ocean dives including 5 dives in the last 12 months.

Diver Health: If you have a medical condition or are currently taking prescription medication, you will need a medical clearance. For further details refer to our Diver Information form or contact our Reservations team.

Luggage Restrictions: Due to light aircraft restrictions, your total weight of your luggage is limited to 20 kilograms/ 45 lb per person, including your dive gear and carry-on luggage.

Snorkelers: Only the Ribbon Reefs portion of this trip is suitable for snorkelers.The (at times) deeper reefs tops and swift currents of the Coral Sea, make the Coral Sea reefs only suitable for very experienced snorkelers and strong swimmers with a high level of fitness. You may not be able to snorkel at every site. Please note that while you may be safe under the watchful eye of the ‘look-out’ crew, a snorkel buddy may not always be available and you may be required to snorkel alone and to wear floatation equipment.

Room Types Available are:
Ocean View Deluxe
Located on the top deck with internal stairwell access to the main deck, as well as external access to the top deck and dive deck, the Ocean View Deluxe Cabin boats a 10.5m² area with 3 large windows overlooking the starboard side of the vessel.

A comfy double bed will ensure you are well rest for a full day of diving. The room features bedside tables, wardrobe and 26″ flat screen TV.

The cabin is fully air-conditioned and has its own private bathroom.

Double or Sole occupancy only.

Ocean View Standard
Ocean View cabin is located on the top deck with internal stairwell access to the main deck, as well as external access to the top deck and dive deck.

As the name suggests, you will enjoy stunning views from this air conditioned 7.2m² cabin, which contains a double bed, private bathroom, a wardrobe and 26” flat screen TV.

Double or Sole Occupancy only.

Stateroom

The largest of all cabins onboard the vessel, The Stateroom cabin is located in a private area on the lower deck, close to the dive deck and dining saloon.

Fully air-conditioned, this spacious 12m² cabin contains a queen size bed, a private bathroom, extra shelving, wardrobe, bedside tables and 26″ flat screen TV.

Double or Sole Occupancy only: no twin share option available.

Standard Double/Twin
Spirit of Freedom has seven standard double or twin share cabins. Five of these cabins contain a double bed with a single bed over the top, bunk style. One cabin contains just a double bed and one cabin has two single beds.

These cabins are all located on the lower deck, with easy access to the main deck and have an average area of 10m² square metres in area.

Fully air-conditioned, the cabins have an ensuite bathroom and also contain a wardrobe, personal reading light and a bedside table.

Please advise your preference for double or twin share when placing your booking. Sole occupancy also available.

Quad Share
Located midships on the lower deck, the quad share cabin containing four single beds, bunk style and is a great options for groups or families as you explore the Great Barrier Reef on your epic dive adventure.

This 9m² cabin has easy access to the main deck and includes a private ensuite bathroom and personal reading lights for each bed.

The cabin is fully air-conditioned and also contains a wardrobe, as well as storage under the bottom two bunks.

Days 10 to 11 - 1 Night Accommodation in Cairns

Travel to your accommodation Cairns, Australia, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 1 night.

Your 4.5 star accommodation combines contemporary decor with a tropical ambience. The magnificent location of this 176 room hotel is perfect for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest or Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands. Other nearby highlights include: Cairns Casino, Marlin Jetty, the Esplanade and the Night Markets. Unwind with a cocktail by the pool or bar followed by a sumptuous meal at the award winning Bushfire Flame Grill.

All rooms and suites have individual balconies, individually controlled air conditioning, refrigerator, television, broadband internet access, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, along with tea and coffee making facilities. Facilities include: 24 hr reception, tour desk, free wireless internet, Bushfire Flame Grill, bar, pool, business services on request, coin operated laundry on four floors, room service, laundry & dry cleaning.

Optional Evening Tour (Not Included) - Evening Aquarium Experience with Dinner (4 Hours)

Enjoy exclusive after hours entry to Cairns Aquarium with a 3-course dinner.

As the sun sets on Tropical North Queensland’s mountain ranges, steamy rainforests and shallow reef lagoons stir with life. Reptiles, amphibians, insects, and nocturnal fish sense the onset of dusk and emerge from their daytime lairs. Brightly coloured reef fish seek shelter in coral caves as predatory nocturnal sharks, rays, and grouper awaken.
‘Aquarium by Twilight’ takes you on an exclusive guided tour to witness this remarkable transition as day slides into sunset.

Operates
Tuesday through Saturday
Check-in at 3:00pm or 3:15pm
Twilight Tour at 3:15pm or 3:30pm
Dinner at Dundee’s at 5:15pm or 5:30pm

Includes
– Exclusive after-hours entry to Cairns Aquarium
– Two-hour guided twilight tour through 10 tropical ecosystems, from the mountains, to the Great Barrier Reef, to the Coral Sea
– Learn how animals’ behaviors adapt from the day into night in the Wet Tropics
– Come face to face with the Coral Sea’s largest night time predators: sharks, rays, groupers, and more!
– 3-course dinner at Dundee’s

Need to Know
This experience can be catered to your dietary needs. Please advise of any special dietary requirements when completing your Traveler Information Form. If you wish for your infant to have a meal you will need to book a child fare.

Upgrades
Dine With Sharks

Optional Tour (Not Included) - Dinner Cruise

A Cairns Dinner Cruise is the perfect way to end a perfect day in paradise. Boarding our sailing catamaran at the Marlin Marina, you will enjoy an evening of calm water cruising on Trinity Inlet, taking in the sights and sounds of this tropical port city and its surrounding mangroves, as they transition from day to night.

You will be welcomed on board with a refreshing pre-dinner drink. With your glass charged, stroll the interior or exterior decks and admire the view as the sky, filled with thousands of sparkling stars. Your journey takes you deep into the heart of Trinity Inlet and across the waterfront precinct of Cairns, from the Cruise Liner Terminal to the Esplanade. The water is calm, the weather mild and the night is yours to enjoy. Inside our air-conditioned dining room, sit down to a sumptuous buffet meal with a wide range of hot and cold dishes, fresh seafood, and delicious local produce. Our luxurious Spirit of Cairns sailing catamaran is fully licensed, selling a range of beverages to compliment your meal and enhance your evening.

Operates
Daily
Departs 6:00pm and Returns 9:00pm

Includes
– Welcome glass of sparkling wine, beer, or soft drink on arrival
– 2.5 hour calm water evening cruise
– Delicious buffet dinner
– Luxurious air-conditioned vessel, with large outdoor decks

Need to Know
Please wear tropical cocktail attire, light jacket, and suitable boating shoes. Please bring your credit/debit card as the Spirit of Cairns is cashless. The dinner is a buffet style meal and it may not always be possible to change a particular menu item to suit special requirements. Menu items are labelled to indicate vegetarian, diary free and gluten free (and a complete list of ingredients can be provided on request). However, while all care is taken, it must be noted that within the premises they do handle nuts, seafood, shellfish, sesame seeds, wheat flour, eggs and dairy products and can not guarantee that certain products or ingredients will not be in the food, and explicitly accept no liability in this regard.

Insider's Tip: The Esplanade in Cairns

Experience the leisurely atmosphere at the playground for locals and tourists alike at The Esplanade in Cairns!

With so many activities available The Esplanade has always been a focal point for this city. This is a place that literally has everything! Take a stroll and do some bird watching on the boardwalk but as you enjoy the views don’t forget to stop off at Foreshore Promenade for a bite to eat at the many available restaurants. Access to The Lagoon is easy here which is set overlooking the Barrier Reef and Trinity inlet and features all year free swimming where you can take a dip in this filtered saltwater lagoon. Let the kids can play in the sandy edges and in the shallow waters while you lounge on the semi-shaded timber decks. For the kids, don’t miss out on the Trinity Bay foreshore playground “Muddy” with equipment for all ages. For the older kids, stop off at the Skate Park to see some skaters and BMXers in action! Whether you decide to take a morning jog, fly a kite or just relax in the large grassy areas for some lunch you will surely enjoy the tropical lifestyle!

If you happen to be in Cairns on a Saturday be sure to check out the Weekend Markets which feature only locally made arts and crafts, clothing and much more. While you’re there listen out for the live music and fun street characters. The market gets into full swing on the promenade (just by the lagoon) every Saturday between 8am – 4pm.

Lagoon Hours: All Year, 6am-9pm
Closed Wednesdays until midday for maintenance

Day 11 - Shuttle Transfer, Cairns Airport to Accommodation

Travel by shuttle from the Cairns Airport to your vacation accommodation in Cairns, Australia.

Need to Know
Luggage Restrictions: 1 checked bag and 1 hand luggage is free of charge per person in the shuttle. Additional luggage is 10$ each. Strollers are free. Bikes need to be in a bike bag. Fishing rods need to be broken down and in a container.

Day 11 - Australian Domestic Flight, Cairns to Brisbane

Travel within Australia by domestic air from Cairns to Brisbane.

Day 11 - International Flight, Brisbane to Los Angeles

Mid-day Departure from Brisbane, In-flight Dinner and Movie with arrival in the USA. Note: You will be traveling back across the International Date line so you will gain a day. You actually arrive in the USA on the same day you leave Australia.

 
Detailed Pricing
Approximate Pricing Double Occupancy Sole Occupancy Permitted USA Departure Dates & Fare Rules
Land Content Only $1,332 $1,497 International return flights from the USA are not included. Please see detailed itinerary (above) for more information on inclusions. Itinerary can commence any day (subject to availability).
Special (Economy Class) $2,651 $2,815 2024-01-15 00:00:00 - 2024-11-11 00:00:00
USA Departures: 15 JAN - 28 JUN & 24 JUL - 11 NOV 2024. Expires FEB 29 2024
International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Non-Refundable, Non-Changeable. Other Dates may also apply. For details phone Toll-Free: (888)359 2877
Basic (Economy Class) $3,153 $3,318 Basic: May 1 - Jun 8 & Jul 24 - Sep 21, 2022. International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Non-Refundable. Changeable (Fees Apply). Subject to Availability.
Shoulder (Economy Class) $3,256 $3,421 Shoulder: Feb 1 - Apr 30, Jun 9 - Jul 23 & Sep 22 - Dec 8, 2022. International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Non-Refundable. Changeable (Fees Apply). Subject to Availability.
Peak (Economy Class) $3,966 $4,131 Peak: Dec 9, 2022 - Jan 31, 2023. International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Non-Refundable. Changeable (Fees Apply. Subject to Availability.
Premium (Economy Class) $4,946 $5,111 Premium Economy Class International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Change and Cancellation Fees Apply. Subject to Availability.
Business Class $7,853 $8,017 Business Class International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Subject to Availability.
First Class $22,757 $22,921 First Class International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Subject to Availability.

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